To say New York State’s energy system is in a period of great transition is an understatement; the system must better respond to storms that threaten infrastructure, undergo a sustainability boost, and satisfy an increasingly diversified marketplace. New technology that can address these issues is coming out all the time, but which one(s) do you adopt and how?
As director of strategy management for New York Power Authority, a colossal organization that provides power for businesses, nonprofits, and government structures across the state, it is up to Janis Archer to make sense of what is happening in the world of energy, and then decide how the agency should respond. “My early definition of problem-solving was jumping right in and fixing something myself,” she says. “Sharing these efforts with others requires a leap of faith; it seems somehow messier and less predictable, but the results are infinitely more productive and rewarding.”
Before steering the strategy ship at New York Power Authority, Archer, who lives in Chappaqua, spent a decade in its IT department, where she excelled at addressing big-picture problems. When she realized that IT decisions weren’t always in line with customer wants or business needs, she created the IT Advisory Committee to talk through those issues and improve customer experience. And to better guide the organization’s energy traders, she oversaw the creation of an energy information portal.
But despite all the accomplishments, “I’ve never felt as though I’ve ‘made it’ and, truthfully, I hope I never do,” Archer says. “A career, like a life, is a journey. There is always something new to learn, a new challenge to take on. I hope that there are many more rungs on the ladder above me to explore.”
We bet that the New York Power Authority—as well as organizations like Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, the Valhalla Ambulance Corps, and the Girl Scouts, where she has held volunteer leadership positions—hopes so, too.